Several teachers reported to the Calhoun school board Monday evening about significant gains with the "Reading First" program.

"Kids are learning [using the program] wanting to learn, motivated and thinking," said teacher Gina Freed.

The board watched a power-point presentation by Arnoldsburg teacher Charles Thomas regarding the state's "Leadership for 21st Century Learning" imitative. Thomas said "State Superintendent Steve Paine wants students to be internationally competitive" in the world market.

Paine says the 21st Century initiative will lead to significant increases in student learning, motivation and achievement.

There is movement to expand the "Respect and Protect" behavioral modification program to high school students, according to school principal Karen Kirby. The program is currently being used in middle school.

"Respect and Protect has made markable improvement in student behavior," said middle school teacher Linda Jarvis, who is working with the program.

Superintendent Ron Blankenship reported on the initial steps in developing a School Access Safety Plan, recently funded by the WV legislature.

The plan, designed to increase student safety, will be developed by a county-wide council that will be appointed.

Each of the three county schools will have a new security plan.

Calhoun is expected to receive about $41,000 for the project, with a $6,000 local match being required.

Blankenship gave a report on "an exciting new program" that will get students involved with Glenville State College, a program that will encourage college attendance early.

Donnie Pitts gave a report regarding improvements to the air conditioning system at Calhoun-Middle High School, which he said was a "major endeavor." Pitts said left-over SBA money will be used to put tile in about ten restrooms, a project "that will save us money later."

The school board has scheduled special meetings Thursday and Friday to conduct interviews for a new superintendent.